Achieving Actionable Results from Available Inputs: Metamodels Take Building Energy Simulations One Step Further

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Modeling commercial building energy usage can be a difficult and time-consuming task. The increasing prevalence of optimization algorithms provides one path for reducing the time and difficulty. Many use cases remain, however, where information regarding whole-building energy usage is valuable, but the time and expertise required to run and post-process a large number of building energy simulations is intractable. A relatively underutilized option to accurately estimate building energy consumption in real time is to pre-compute large datasets of potential building energy models, and use the set of results to quickly and efficiently provide highly accurate data. This process is called metamodeling. In this paper, two case studies are presented demonstrating the successful applications of metamodeling using the open-source OpenStudio Analysis Framework. The first case study involves the U.S. Department of Energy's Asset Score Tool, specifically the Preview Asset Score Tool, which is designed to give nontechnical users a near-instantaneous estimated range of expected results based on building system-level inputs. The second case study involves estimating the potential demand response capabilities of retail buildings in Colorado. The metamodel developed in this second application not only allows for estimation of a single building's expected performance, but also can be combined with public data to estimate the aggregate DR potential across various geographic (county and state) scales. In both case studies, the unique advantages of pre-computation allow building energy models to take the place of topdown actuarial evaluations. This paper ends by exploring the benefits of using metamodels and then examines the cost-effectiveness of this approach.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 201626 Aug 2016


Conference2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-67076


  • Asset Score Tool
  • demand response
  • metamodels
  • OpenStudio


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